Braves Prospects: Alvarez Jr. on fire, pitching dominates, Ceballos' improved offense

Great weeks by Nacho Alvarez Jr. and Sabin Ceballos add some balance to what's been a pitching-heavy year.

San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves
San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

It has been a busy week for Atlanta Braves prospects as a flurry of promotions and exciting moments have come out in recent days. An infield prospect shows he is on the cusp of being MLB-ready and a plethora of promotions continue to show Atlanta's depth at the pitching position.

Let's check out some of the most notable news surrounding the Braves minor league system with this week's roundup.

Nacho Alvarez Jr. continues to scorch in Gwinnett

It wasn't quite as loud as his first few games in Gwinnett, but Nacho Alvarez Jr. continues to impress in a Gwinnett Stripers jersey. Nacho, appearing in all six games of the week, slashed .269/.345/.462 with a homer and 3 RBI. Even when you factor in a few 0-fer games, Nacho's .462 slugging percentage last week is still well ahead of what he was doing with Mississippi and continues to add promise and allure to his status as a prospect. While he's likely in Gwinnett, barring any injury, for the rest of the season, if he continues to contribute with the bat this way he may find himself competing for a spot in Atlanta sooner than later with how poorly things are going for Orlando Arcia.

Domingo Gonzalez promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett

A name many people may not have heard of before, relief prospect Domingo Gonzalez has turned a sensational 2024 campaign into finding himself on the cusp of Atlanta, with a promotion to Triple-A. Last week, Domingo appeared in two games and was simply unhittable (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, and 5 K). On the season, the 24-year-old has appeared in 21 games and has an outrageous 14.45 K/9, and 2.28 ERA to go with a sterling 2.08 FIP. Domingo was a starting pitching prospect for the Pittsburgh Pirates before the Braves took him in the 2022 Rule 5 Draft. Domingo predominantly features two pitches - his two-seam fastball which sits in the mid-90s, and a fantastic slider.

Sabin Ceballos begins to turn things around with bat

Drafted in the third round of the 2023 MLB Draft out of the University of Oregon, Sabin Ceballos came into the year with lofty expectations. It wasn't the best start of the season for Sabin, as he struggled at the plate and to hit the ball for power. However, last week, Ceballos put together one of his best weeks of the season.

Over five games, Sabin slashed .294/.429/.529 with a double and homer and most importantly looked confident at the plate. It's been an OK year for Braves position prospects - with much of the accolades and discussion about the pitching prospects. However, the 18th-rated prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is looking to build off a strong week and turn things around.

Drue Hackenberg and Lucas Braun promoted to Double-A Mississippi

Just a few days after putting together one of his strongest starts of the season (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, and 7 K), Drue Hackenberg found himself being promoted to the Mississippi Braves. On the season, the 2022 second-round pick, is 3-3 with a 9.40 K/9, 4.25 BB/9, and 3.64 ERA. With a signing bonus of nearly $2M, it's safe the say the Braves were intrigued with what his potential on the mound could be even though he wasn't particularly strong his final year in college with a 5.70 ERA.

Drue has a five-pitch mix with a four-seam fastball, slider, curveball, changeup, and cutter - an intriguing mix to say the least but still lots of development needed. He's been up and down this year but his last two games paint a much rosier picture as he has had a .434 OPS against and a 1.32 ERA.

Pitching prospect Lucas Braun was also promoted to Mississippi this week. Funny enough, Braun had one of the worst starts of his season (5.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, and 7 K) giving up six earned runs over five innings. That said, this promotion was warranted due to the overwhelmingly good season Lucas has put together. On the season, the 2023 sixth-round pick, has a 10.49 K/9, 2.24 BB/9, and 4.34 ERA (3.54 FIP). Lucas has a three-pitch mix including fastball, slider, and changeup. Braun appears to be a very quick riser in the organization and prospect rankings.

Hayden Harris promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett

One of the more intriguing arms in minor league baseball, Hayden Harris was finally promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett. Last week, Hayden appeared in two games and had a line of 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, and 2 K. On the season, Hayden is up to a 14.81 K/9, 3.92 BB/9, 1.74 ERA, and even more sparkling 1.36 FIP. Hayden has a two-pitch mix with his fastball sitting in the low 90s and a great slider.

His fastball, which he utilizes almost 80% of the time, is an extremely intriguing pitch as it generates a remarkable amount of whiffs despite staying in the low 90s. For those interested, I suggest reading up on VAA (vertical approach angle) to learn more about why Hayden Harris has seen his stock skyrocket from an undrafted free agent out of Georgia Southern University to a potential MLB reliever.

Didier Fuentes wins Pitcher of the Week

The fast-rising Didier Fuentes continued to open eyes last week with another outstanding outing (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, and 7 K) which resulted in him winning league-wide honors. On the season, Didier has appeared in 11 games and has a 10.80 K/9, 2.60 BB/9, and fantastic 2.60 ERA. Just 19 years old, the Braves have been aggressive with him as he's found himself all the way in Low-A with the chance to advance to High-A Rome before the season's end. Didier continues to be a player to watch as he continues to rise across prospect and organizational rankings.

Dylan Dodd showcases new pitch and impresses

It was not the first game in which Dylan Dodd showed off his new sweeper, a pitch he already had in his arsenal but has thrown harder, but Dodd looks like a bit of a different prospect. Last week, Dylan appeared in one game where he pitched well (5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 7 K). On the season, Dylan has an 8.18 K/9, 2.86 BB/9, and 4.80 ERA. In his last two starts, again when he's shown off a new harder sweeper, Dylan has a 3.60 ERA and .559 OPS against. Dodd is a pitching prospect you'll want to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.

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